Please note that you should never self-prescribe TCM ingredients. A TCM ingredient is almost never eaten on its own but as part of a formula containing several ingredients that act together. Please consult a professional TCM practitioner, they will be best able to guide you.
Preparation: After collection, remove fibrous elements, wash, dry slightly and rub until it is translucent. Wash again, soak in water, cut in thick pieces and dry.
Dosage: 6 to 12g.
Main actions according to TCM*: Nourishes the Yin of the Lung and Stomach. Generates Fluids and extinguishes Wind. Stop thirsty.
Contraindications*: This herb should not be used by those with Cold Damp Phlegm in the Stomach.
Source date: Qing dynasty
Number of ingredients: 8 herbs
Formula key actions: Nourishes the Yin. Clears Heat. Induces Sweating. Releases the Exterior.
Yu Zhu is a king ingredient in Jia Jian Wei Rui Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
It is particularly useful due to its ability to tonify without causing Stagnation. Therefore, it can restore Body Fluids without getting in the way of eliminating pathogens, which more cloying Yin tonics might do.
Source date: 1798 AD
Number of ingredients: 5 herbs
Formula key actions: Strengthen the Stomach. Creates Body Fluids.
Yu Zhu is a deputy ingredient in Yi Wei Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
In Yi Wei Tang, Yu Zhu directs the actions of the king herbs specifically to the Stomach.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Yu Zhu belongs to the 'Tonic herbs for Yin Deficiency' category. Tonic herbs are used for patterns of Deficiency, when one lacks one of the 'Four Treasures' (Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang). Yin tonics have a heavy, moist nature. They either nourish the Kidneys and Liver or moisten the Lungs and Stomach. Extreme Yin Deficiency often translates into a 'burn-out', unfortunately more and more common among people today. It is worth mentioning that another great remedy against Yin Deficiency is a lot of rest and sleep; no herb will ever be able to replace this!
Furthermore Yu Zhu is Cold in nature. This means that Yu Zhu typically helps people who have too much 'Heat' in their body. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much Heat in their body are said to either have a Yang Excess (because Yang is Hot in nature) or a Yin deficiency (Yin is Cold in Nature). Depending on your condition Yu Zhu can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.
Yu Zhu also tastes Sweet. The so-called 'Five Phases' theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Sweet ingredients like Yu Zhu tends to slow down acute reactions and detoxify the body. They also have a tonic effect because they replenish Qi and Blood.
The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Yu Zhu is thought to target the Lung and the Stomach. In addition to performing respiration, the Lungs are thought in TCM to be a key part of the production chain for Qi and the Body Fluids that nourish the body. The Stomach on the other hand is responsible for receiving and ripening ingested food and fluids. It is also tasked with descending the digested elements downwards to the Small Intestine.
TFP, one of the primary hypoglycemic active compounds of Polygonatum odoratum, possess significant dose-dependent anti-diabetic activity thanks to its beneficial effects on regulation of blood glucose. 1.
1. XS Shu, JH Lv, J Tao, GM Li, HD Li, N Ma "Antihyperglycemic effects of total flavonoids from Polygonatum odoratum in STZ and alloxan-induced diabetic rats" Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2009 - Elsevier
Yu Zhu is also eaten as food.